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  #81  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 6:18 PM
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Tiny tech, big results: Quantum dot solar cells increase solar conversion efficiency
August 2, 2011 by Stuart Mason Dambrot



Sometimes called artificial atoms, nanoparticles composed of cadmium, zinc, tellurium, selenium, sulfur and other compounds are so miniscule that adding or removing a single electron represents a significant change – a property that makes them suitable not only as components of advanced solar cells, but also in solid state lighting, medical sensors and other applications.
In particular, colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) – synthesized from a three-component system composed of: precursors, organic surfactants, and solvents – can be tuned by changing their size, which in photovoltaic structures allows their spectral response to be tailored as needed. Recently, researchers in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto have demonstrated the first CQD tandem solar cells (a series of connected solar cell in which adding more devices allows for each device to be optimized to a narrower spectrum giving a higher overall efficiency) using the size-effect tuning of a single CQD material, lead(II) sulfide (PbS). Their ability to tune CQD films may allow tandem and multi-junction solar cells (fabricated by combining CQDs of differing sizes) to raise solar cell conversion limits from its current 31% to 42% 49%, respectively.

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-08-...s-quantum.html
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  #82  
Old Posted Aug 17, 2011, 7:44 PM
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Australian Sliver solar cells will lighten the gear carried by soldiers

Sliver® solar cells are fabricated using 1 – 2 mm thick silicon wafers. The key step in Sliver® cell processing is to form deep narrow grooves all the way through the wafer. Several processes can be used including laser scribing, a dicing saw or an anisotropic etching process.

The result is a wafer cut into a series of slivers, with each sliver approximately 50-100mm long, 1-2mm wide and 40-60μm thick.

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  #83  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2011, 9:37 PM
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  #84  
Old Posted Aug 30, 2011, 9:52 PM
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Germany-Greece in Talks Over Massive Solar Project


Read More: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/...-solar-project

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Greece is looking to the sun for a plan that will help it emerge from its deep economic troubles, and solar giant and EU powerhouse Germany may be the beneficiary.

According to a report Saturday in Greek daily newspaper Ta Nea, a $29 billion project (€20 billion) could create as many as 60,000 positions in jobs-starved Greece by harvesting its abundant sunshine and shipping it to Germany, which has committed itself to moving rapidly away from nuclear power following Japan’s earthquake and nuclear crisis.

According to the newspaper, Greece’s Environment Minister George Papaconstantinou and Germany's Deputy Economy Minister Stefan Kapferer discussed the plan, named Project Helios, during talks in Athens last week.

The International Herald Tribune said the project aims to reach 10 GW of capacity, which would rival it with the 10.2 GW produced by Public Power Corporation, Greece's main electricity company. The project, the site said, would require 200 square kilometers of public land.

Despite a national feed-in-tariff, solar installations have been slow to develop in Greece, as the nation continues to battle debt and uncertainty. However, in January, Greece announced plans to build a 200 MW photovoltaic solar park expected to cost $807 million over spent lignite mines in Kozani, a city in northern Greece located south of the border with the Republic of Macedonia.

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  #85  
Old Posted Sep 8, 2011, 12:50 AM
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Natcore Technologies makes progress to 30% efficient quantum dot solar cells
September 07, 2011

A research team working under Natcore Technology Inc. co-founder Prof. Andrew Barron has fabricated two families of multilayer quantum dot films, one with silicon quantum dots and the other with germanium quantum dots, both of which have demonstrated the ability to produce a photo-generated current. Natcore's scientists have discovered that its LPD (Liquid Phase Deposition) process could allow, for the first time, mass manufacturing of super-efficient (30%+) tandem solar cells. For comparison purposes, these cells could achieve twice the power output of today's most efficient solar cells. Until now, these tandem cells have been producible only by using very special, expensive semiconductor materials, and at very high costs. Natcore's process has the potential to allow tandem cell mass production at a lower cost/watt than anything available today.



The photo-generated current measurements are the first of their kind for this sort of structure and showed unequivocally that both film types (i.e., with Si quantum dots or Ge quantum dots) were photoactive in different spectral regions. The larger Ge quantum dots were responsive to an infrared-rich light source and the Si quantum dots were responsive to a UV-rich light source, consistent with expectations. Smaller quantum dots (the Si quantum dot diameters were between 1 nm and 2 nm) will respond more readily to shorter wavelengths of light, while larger quantum dots (the Ge quantum dot diameters were between 5 nm and 6 nm) will respond more readily to longer light wavelengths, precisely as observed.





"This accomplishment by Professor Barron and his group is an outstanding achievement and confirms that making, and ultimately commercially producing, an all-quantum dot tandem solar cell using Natcore's LPD film growth technology is on target," said Dr. Dennis Flood, Natcore's Chief Technology Officer. "Our goal to show that multiple layers of quantum dots can be assembled using a low-cost, complete wet chemistry approach has been validated. The fact that we have demonstrated photocurrent generation in both Si and Ge quantum dot multilayer devices means that the entire solar cell could potentially be fabricated without the use of expensive silicon wafers for the bottom subcell of a two- or three-cell tandem device. We could do so by substituting a Ge quantum dot device for the silicon solar cell and achieve the same overall solar absorption as would have been achieved with the latter. This achievement could make it possible to use low-cost, roll-to-roll manufacturing techniques to achieve a truly low-cost solar module that would have twice the power output of the average solar module on the market today. "

http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/09/nat...ogress-to.html
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  #86  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2011, 7:00 PM
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Printed solar cells on paper
September 15, 2011

The Institute for Print and Media Technology at Chemnitz University of Technology presents solar panels, which are printed with special inks with electrical properties on standard paper.

The technology known as 3PV (3PV stands for printed paper photovoltaics) uses conventional printing methods and standard substrates, like those used for magazines, posters or packaging. Special inks with electrical properties form the necessary structures on paper, which ensure that electricity is generated when being exposed to light. Since the employed conventional printing methods, i.e. gravure, flexo and offset printing, are very cost-efficient, the printed solar panels shall generate much cheaper electricity in comparison to conventional solar cells. Prof. Dr. Arved Hübler from the Institute for Print and Media Technology at Chemnitz University of Technology, who is working together with his research team on the 3PV technology for more than three years now, speaks of a paradigm shift in solar technology. His vision for the future is that common printing houses around the world could produce and market 3PV solar panels.



Journal Small - Printed Paper Photovoltaic Cells


Polymer/fullerene solar cells are printed on paper using a combination of gravure and flexographic printing techniques. The printed paper photovoltaic cells are free from expensive electrodes made with indium–tin oxide, silver, or gold. Oxidized zinc film is used as the electron-collecting layer.


Now the Chemnitz-based researchers have published their results in the journal Advanced Energy Materials. Hübler and his team Tino Zillger, Bystrik Trnovec Mozzam Ali and Nora Wetzold, who have been supported by colleagues from the University of Würzburg with regard to the characterisation of the cells, report that the cells printed in Chemnitz achieve an energy conversion efficiency of 1.3 percent. The researchers use a new material approach. In a special printing process, naturally oxidised zinc is applied as base electrode. The transparent counter electrode is printed with PEDOT, a conductive polymer. "The materials are constantly optimised and we are confident that the 3PV parameters can be further improved," says Tino Zillger, researcher at the Institute for Print and Media Technology and leader of the project. Even the team of Hübler is a bit surprised that it is already possible to produce very stable 3PV modules with a web printing press in the laboratory of the Institute for Print and Media Technology. "Our long experience in the field of printed electronics pays well here," says the head of the chair Print Media Technology.

Hübler assumes that all in all paper solar cells could have the edge over the current technological state of the art due to the efficient production and lower material costs. The aim of further research is to increase the efficiency to more than five percent in order to ensure that a 3PV module is economically attractive despite a life time of less than one year. "In nature we find a model for this strategy: even green leaves only have a moderate energy conversion efficiency of four to seven percent and a life time of less than one year. Nevertheless, this approach is obviously successful," explains Hübler.

The vision of being able to contribute to the overall energy supply with the help of paper solar panels is only one field of application. Researchers at Chemnitz University of Technology have already shown that it is also possible to drive small electrical devices with these paper solar cells. This opens up the possibility to supply mobile devices with "paper power” in a simple and self-sustaining way. Intelligent packaging, for instance, could include many additional features, ranging from displays to sensors. Handling of the paper solar cells can be very simple. Tino Zillger shows a possible solution with 3PV modules manufactured at the Institute for Print and Media Technology: The paper strips can be connected with the help of commercial snap fasteners. Immediately, an electrical current flows. After use, the paper modules can be recycled like any other waste paper. According to Hübler it is, thus, not only possible to generate renewable energy, but also the solar cell itself is made from renewable resources and is consequently renewable.
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  #87  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2011, 5:29 PM
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Artificial leaf solar cell splits water into hydrogen and oxygen


The artificial leaf — a silicon solar cell with different catalytic materials
bonded onto its two sides — needs no external wires or control circuits to operate. Simply placed in a container of water and exposed to sunlight, it quickly begins to generate streams of bubbles: oxygen bubbles from one side and hydrogen bubbles from the other. If placed in a container that has a barrier to separate the two sides, the two streams of bubbles can be collected and stored, and used later to deliver power: for example, by feeding them into a fuel cell that combines them once again into water while delivering an electric current.


The 'artificial leaf,' a device that can harness sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen without needing any external connections, is seen with some real leaves, which also convert the energy of sunlight directly into storable chemical form. Photo: Dominick Reuter

Journal Science - Wireless Solar Water Splitting Using Silicon-Based Semiconductors and Earth-Abundant Catalysts




Quote:
We describe the development of solar water-splitting cells comprising earth-abundant elements that operate in near-neutral pH conditions, both with and without connecting wires. The cells consist of a triple junction, amorphous silicon photovoltaic interfaced to hydrogen and oxygen evolving catalysts made from an alloy of earth-abundant metals and a cobalt|borate catalyst, respectively. The devices described herein carry out the solar-driven water-splitting reaction at efficiencies of 4.7% for a wired configuration and 2.5% for a wireless configuration when illuminated with 1 sun of AM 1.5 simulated sunlight. Fuel-forming catalysts interfaced with light-harvesting semiconductors afford a pathway to direct solar-to-fuels conversion that captures many of the basic functional elements of a leaf.


The device, Nocera explains, is made entirely of earth-abundant, inexpensive materials — mostly silicon, cobalt and nickel — and works in ordinary water. Other attempts to produce devices that could use sunlight to split water have relied on corrosive solutions or on relatively rare and expensive materials such as platinum.

The artificial leaf is a thin sheet of semiconducting silicon — the material most solar cells are made of — which turns the energy of sunlight into a flow of wireless electricity within the sheet. Bound onto the silicon is a layer of a cobalt-based catalyst, which releases oxygen, a material whose potential for generating fuel from sunlight was discovered by Nocera and his co-authors in 2008. The other side of the silicon sheet is coated with a layer of a nickel-molybdenum-zinc alloy, which releases hydrogen from the water molecules.


11 pages of supplemental material


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  #88  
Old Posted Oct 25, 2011, 6:52 PM
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Breakthrough Furnace Can Cut Solar Costs
October 21, 2011

The cavity inside the Solar Optical Furnace glows white hot during a simulated firing of a solar cell.
Credit: Dennis Schroeder

Solar cells, the heart of the photovoltaic industry, must be tested for mechanical strength, oxidized, annealed, purified, diffused, etched, and layered.

Heat is an indispensable ingredient in each of those steps, and that's why large furnaces dot the assembly lines of all the solar cell manufacturers. The state of the art has been thermal or rapid-thermal-processing furnaces that use radiant or infrared heat to quickly boost the temperature of silicon wafers.

Now, there's something new.

A game-changing Optical Cavity Furnace developed by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory uses optics to heat and purify solar cells at unmatched precision while sharply boosting the cells' efficiency.

The Optical Cavity Furnace (OCF) combines the assets that photonics can bring to the process with tightly controlled engineering to maximize efficiency while minimizing heating and cooling costs.

NREL's OCF encloses an array of lamps within a highly reflective chamber to achieve a level of temperature uniformity that is unprecedented. It virtually eliminates energy loss by lining the cavity walls with super-insulating and highly reflective ceramics, and by using a complex optimal geometric design. The cavity design uses about half the energy of a conventional thermal furnace because in the OCF the wafer itself absorbs what would otherwise be energy loss. Like a microwave oven, the OCF dissipates energy only on the target, not on the container.

http://www.nrel.gov/news/features/fe...eature_id=1629
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  #89  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2011, 11:04 PM
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A Super-Absorbent Solar Material


Read More: http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/39106/

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A new nanostructured material that absorbs a broad spectrum of light from any angle could lead to the most efficient thin-film solar cells ever. Researchers are applying the design to semiconductor materials to make solar cells that they hope will save money on materials costs while still offering high power-conversion efficiency. Initial tests with silicon suggest that this kind of patterning can lead to a fivefold enhancement in absorbance.

Conventional solar cells are typically a hundred micrometers or more thick. Researchers are working on ways to make thinner solar cells, on the order of hundreds of nanometers thick rather than micrometers, with the same performance, to lower manufacturing costs. However, a thinner solar cell normally absorbs less light, meaning it cannot generate as much electricity.

Some researchers are turning to exotic optical effects that emerge at the nanoscale to solve this conundrum. Harry Atwater, a professor of applied physics and materials science at Caltech and a pioneer of the field, has now come up with a way of patterning materials at the nanoscale that turns them into solar super-absorbers.

.....



This scanning electron microscope image shows the super absorbent nanostructures, which measure 400 nanometers at their base.

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  #90  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2011, 11:06 PM
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Plasmonic device converts light into electricity


Read More: http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-11-...ectricity.html

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While the most common device for converting light into electricity may be photovoltaic (PV) solar cells, a variety of other devices can perform the same light-to-electricity conversion, such as solar-thermal collectors and rectennas. In a new study, engineers have designed a new device that can convert light of infrared (IR) and visible wavelengths into direct current by using surface plasmon excitations in a simple metal-insulator-metal (MIM) device.

“The greatest significance thus far is to show an alternative method to rectennas and PV devices for IR and visible light conversion,” Melosh told PhysOrg.com. “The conversion efficiencies aren't amazingly high compared to a PV in visible, so it’s not going to replace PVs, but it could be used for energy scavenging later on.” The new device’s MIM architecture is similar to that of a rectenna. However, whereas rectennas operate with long-wavelength light such as microwaves and radio waves, the new device operates with a broad spectrum of infrared to visible wavelengths.

When the MIM device is illuminated, incoming photons are absorbed by the top and bottom metal electrodes. Upon absorption, each photon excites an electron in the metal into a higher energy state so that it becomes a “hot electron.” About half of the hot electrons travel toward the metal-insulator interface, where they may be collected by the other electrode. However, photon absorption in the upper and lower electrodes generates currents with opposite signs, so a net DC current is achieved only if the absorption is larger at one electrode than the other.

.....



Surface plasmons on the top electrode in the MIM device can increase the current from the top electrode so that it is greater than the current from the bottom electrode, generating a positive net current. Image credit: Wang and Melosh. ©2011 American Chemical Society






Electron transmission in MIM devices (a) with and (b) without surface plasmon excitations. (c) The measured photocurrent in a device with surface plasmons (black line) is higher than in a device without them (red line). Image credit: Wang and Melosh. ©2011 American Chemical Society

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  #91  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2011, 5:44 PM
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3D Solar Panels from MIT


November 24, 2011

By Zachary Shahan

Read More: http://cleantechnica.com/2011/11/24/...nels-from-mit/

Quote:
.....

Grossman and some students of his at MIT are working on 3D solar structures that can create almost as much electricity on a cloudy day as on a sunny day. Here’s more from ABC’s “This Could Be BIG” (yes, I’m a little jealous that this guy has a camera crew and production team to follow him around and talk to such cleantech researchers, but at least they are doing it!):

.....
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  #92  
Old Posted Dec 26, 2011, 5:13 PM
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Solar boom makes California and Hawai'i ponder changing their new rules


Dec 25, 2011

By Meteor Blades

Read More: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/1...heir-new-rules

Additional: http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20...newable-energy

Quote:
Prompted by pressure from clean energy advocates, Hawaii and California are quietly working to remove a regulatory obstacle that is slowing a boom in rooftop solar systems in the nation's leading solar states.

The culprit is an arcane provision in the rules many states have adopted for how utility companies handle "distributed generation," any system of small-scale power installations, usually solar arrays, that generates electricity at homes or businesses and hooks up with the main electric grid. The regulation requires that once distributed energy reaches 15 percent of peak demand on a local circuit, anyone wanting to add more solar must carry out a lengthy and costly review of the project's ability to connect with the grid.

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  #93  
Old Posted Dec 26, 2011, 6:21 PM
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While they could change the amount to a high fixed percentage of the lowest daytime demand, doing much else could really make things worse rather than better without wholescale redesign of the grid methinks.
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  #94  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2012, 7:44 AM
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As if solar panel is small it might be worth looking into using a rig similar. I am seeking good used solar panels around my area that can be purchased at a reasonable price. We are hoping that someone can help us. Both of us are disabled so and are trying to get away from the grid. Can anyone help or give advice? Thanks!!

solar systems california
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  #95  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2012, 5:58 AM
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We mainly supply all kinds of solar power, PV module, solar cell, monocrystalline solar panel. The 5 LED lamp will provide many hours of bright light. The lamp comes with a rechargeable battery that can be charged with the included solar panel.
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  #96  
Old Posted Feb 4, 2012, 5:27 PM
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UT Biosolar Breakthrough Promises Cheap, Easy Green Electricity
Posted on February 2, 2012 9:22 am

KNOXVILLE—Barry D. Bruce, professor of biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is turning the term “power plant” on its head. The biochemist and a team of researchers have developed a system that taps into photosynthetic processes to produce efficient and inexpensive energy.

Bruce collaborated with researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ecole Polytechnique Federale in Switzerland to develop a process that improves the efficiency of generating electric power using molecular structures extracted from plants. The biosolar breakthrough has the potential to make “green” electricity dramatically cheaper and easier.



To produce the energy, the scientists harnessed the power of a key component of photosynthesis known as photosystem-I (PSI) from blue-green algae. This complex was then bioengineered to specifically interact with a semi-conductor so that, when illuminated, the process of photosynthesis produced electricity. Because of the engineered properties, the system self-assembles and is much easier to re-create than his earlier work. In fact, the approach is simple enough that it can be replicated in most labs—allowing others around the world to work toward further optimization.

“Because the system is so cheap and simple, my hope is that this system will develop with additional improvements to lead to a green, sustainable energy source,” said Bruce, noting that today’s fossil fuels were once, millions of years ago, energy-rich plant matter whose growth also was supported by the sun via the process of photosynthesis.
http://www.utk.edu/tntoday/2012/02/0...-breakthrough/
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Old Posted Feb 6, 2012, 5:12 PM
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  #98  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2012, 8:56 PM
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Sacrificing the desert to save the Earth


February 5, 2012

By Julie Cart

Read More: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...414,full.story

Quote:
Construction cranes rise like storks 40 stories above the Mojave Desert. In their midst, the "power tower" emerges, wrapped in scaffolding and looking like a multistage rocket. Clustered nearby are hangar-sized assembly buildings, looming berms of sand and a chain mail of fencing that will enclose more than 3,500 acres of public land. Moorings for 173,500 mirrors — each the size of a garage door — are spiked into the desert floor. Before the end of the year, they will become six square miles of gleaming reflectors, sweeping from Interstate 15 to the Clark Mountains along California's eastern border.

BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah solar power project will soon be a humming city with 24-hour lighting, a wastewater processing facility and a gas-fired power plant. To make room, BrightSource has mowed down a swath of desert plants, displaced dozens of animal species and relocated scores of imperiled desert tortoises, a move that some experts say could kill up to a third of them. Despite its behemoth footprint, the Ivanpah project has slipped easily into place, unencumbered by lasting legal opposition or public outcry from California's boisterous environmental community. The public got its chance to comment at scores of open houses, but the real political horse trading took place in meetings involving solar developers, federal regulators and leaders of some of the nation's top environmental organizations.

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Old Posted Feb 8, 2012, 4:53 PM
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Originally Posted by M II A II R II K View Post
Sacrificing the desert to save the Earth[/url]
I live in the desert, it's not that exciting, and there's plenty more where it came from. The benefits of this project far outweigh the costs. I'm excited that we're doing it, and we need more like it.
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Old Posted Feb 14, 2012, 6:39 PM
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Wesley Clark: Make Solar Energy A Military Mission


2/14/2012

By Wesley K. Clark

Read More: http://www.forbes.com/sites/toddwood...itary-mission/

Quote:
.....

Solar, wind and other clean energy technologies played a central role in the president’s address because of their importance to American economic competitiveness and prosperity – and rightly so, the sector is already providing a welcome spot of job and market growth with the opportunity for much more with further U.S. commitment. But while all eyes are on the economy, let’s not forget that those same clean energy investments are mission critical to another top national priority: to strengthen American energy security.

- In the past, the Defense Department has played a remarkably consistent role in commercializing new technologies that provide tremendous social benefits within the larger civilian realm of society. The Internet, created by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in 1969, is perhaps the most famous and transformative of the Department of Defense’s contributions to consumer markets.

- Thanks to support from the Defense Department and the U.S. Department of Energy, solar energy is achieving cost milestones that were unthinkable just a short time ago: a 75% price drop over the last three years. But there is a lot of competition in this market, fueled by major government support in places such as Europe and China. With Europe’s consistent pro-solar policies – long-term above-market payments for solar energy – as well as force-fed Chinese procurement – some U.S. manufacturing firms have been driven out of the business. Solyndra is one, and there are others that have followed.

Consider these facts regarding the U.S. Department of Defense:

· U.S. military operations represent the largest consumer of all forms of energy globally.

· Our troops in Afghanistan pay the equivalent of $400 per gallon of fossil fuel when security, transportation and mortality costs are tallied up, with the largest expense being battlefield electricity generation.

· Here at home, virtually all military bases including Fort Irwin here in the California desert are shifting to solar energy in order to develop a more secure, on-site power supply that will increase resiliency and reduce dependence upon imports of fossil fuels from hostile countries.

.....



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